The cost of some very basic items can really vary. I am thinking of things like milk, eggs, butter, cheese, canned tomato products, etc.. I buy a lot dairy from Costco, except for my eggs. I buy them from my food co-op Azure Standard. This is where health vs budget comes into play. You ultimately have to make choices in areas that are the most important to you and maintain your grocery budget. If we make compromises to much in the area of food to save money we end up with health issues which could lead to other types of costs and in the end we really have not saved much. Also I feel like the nutritional quality of so much refined food is so bad that in reality even those cheap prices are way too expensive for the bad quality that we are getting. In the end the choice of how much you spend on better quality food and how much you save will be up to you. I think we have to be good stewards of our money. Shopping and spending wisely and living within our means must be a paramount. Sometimes the reality is that you only have so much money to spend on food and you have to make it work!
One of the ways I have been able to stay within my grocery budget and afford some better quality foods is to cook at home and not eat out (we rarely eat out), make a huge portion of our food from scratch and cook with lots of low cost basic foods such as beans and grains. This savings has allowed me to make better quality choices when buying other foods. Sometimes we make compromises.. I could say that “this” food item would be the very best quality but I will have to buy the less expensive alternative that is not quite so healthy to stay within our budget.
You have to decide what areas you will compromise on and what areas you won’t. For me, I stay completely away from any foods that contain hydrogenated oils. I also do my best to avoid MSG in any form. I make my own bread because it is healthy and low cost. I use better quality sweeteners (like organic sugars and honey) as often as I can. If my budget is tight, I may use sugar occasionally and just a whole lot less of it. Every step I do make towards healthy eating I look at as moving my family’s health in a positive direction.
Here is another budget dinner to share with you. Leanne made Sausage and Gravy over Biscuts for us tonight.
Sausage and Gravy
2 lbs sausage (such as Jimmy Dean brand)
6 cups milk
¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook sausage. Sprinkle flour over sausage and stir. Add milk. Stir. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened and continue to simmer for a couple minutes to cook flour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The following biscuit recipe is my favorite! These biscuits always come out so good!
6 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2T baking powder
2T cane juice crystals or sugar
1t baking soda
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup butter
2 ¼ cups cold milk or buttermilk
Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Cut in coconut oil and butter until it resembles cornmeal. Add milk (or buttermilk) and stir until moist. Knead 4 or 5 times (try not to handle the dough any more than necessary, it will make lighter biscuits). Cut with biscuit cutter or glass. Bake at 450 for 15 to 17 minutes. This recipe makes approx 3 dozen biscuits. I served this meal with orange slices.
**NOTE** Both of these recipes are doubled. It fed us (7 people) dinner with leftovers for another meal.
I did not do a price breakdown due to time! Sausage was most likely the biggest expense ($4.00 for 2lbs). I have not taken the time to figure out the cost per cup of coconut oil.. so I will have to do that to get an accurate price breakdown. You can sub all butter in the recipe if you don’t have coconut oil. I am currently paying about $1.75 for a pound of butter, which would make the cost of butter in the recipe .44 cents (double that if you used all butter). But if I guessed I would say about $7.00 and to me that is not bad. Feeding 7 people which includes hubby, me, daughters (ages 19,18, 14) and sons (ages 16, 12) for two meals makes this recipe budget friendly and pretty healthy as well!